Live from Google IO 2015!
Hot off Google’s IO developer conference, Google has announced a new app called Google Photos.
When using it on your smartphone or tablet, you can take a photo or video and then upload it to Google Photos (where it would be private by default). From there you can choose the photos that you want to share. You have the ability to search by time, location or a thing (e.g. a holiday in Mexico or a sporting event that you went to see). You can even select all of the photos in one switft motion.
Once you have done that you can share them to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or a whole host of other places. You can even get a link for the photos that you want to share. You can then copy and paste it to pretty much anywhere you can copy and paste a link.
Google Photos will allow you to store literally an unlimited amount of photos(up to 16 megapixels in resolution) or videos(up to 1080p in resolution) and it’s free.
Upon first imporessions Google Photos seems pretty impressive. You can share stuff and the recipient does not need a user name or password to see the photos being shared.
Additionally, it makes that whole experience of sharing your photos less work. It’s simple as choosing the photos you want to share, and then actually sharing them wherever you want to . Yes, it’s that simple.
Of course, if you take photos then you can use it as a way to back up literally all of your photos. This is important because if you lose your smartphone or tablet then you can download them again once you get your new one.
Incidentally, the whole sharing experience is not quite there on iOS and the Mac. This is also Google’s chance to get a leg up. Additionally you can only store up to 5GB of your stuff online(shared between your photos and your other data as well). Yes, Google has their limits for Google Photos and you do need a Google/gmail account to actually share the photos.
I’ve had a chance to play with it and on first impressions it really is super easy. Of course, uploading your photos will take time, but when you flick the switch to back them up, then they are backed up automatically without you having to do any work. The sharing is really easy as upload, choose and share. Most importantly, the fact that you can share to any service without the recipient having to have an app or an account for anything makes Google Photos a no brainer to have.
With tomorrow, Google will be starting the 2015 edition of it’s annual developers’ conference, Google IO.
This is going to be the conference where developers can find out what new technologies they can implement into their software or hardware.
This has also become a place where we have seen the announcements of new versions of Android in the past.
Of course, the big kick-off event will be the opening keynote speech which is taking place on the 28th of May 2015 (i.e. tomorrow) at 9AM pacific time (5PM UK time). As with previous years Google are going to be doing a live stream of this event which you will be able to watch on this very website. Be sure to visit the official schedule to see the timings for your country.
So what can you expect? Well as it’s a developers’ conference we will see a lot of the technologies that you developers will be able to take advantage of in Android as well as chrome OS and the Chrome web browser.
But that does not mean we will not see some consumer stuff. I am sure that we will see some of the new things they are adding to the Chrome web browser.
Of course, last year we saw a new version of Android announced, so hopefully this might be the case this year.
Whatever we get to see, be sure to check back for another post with the live video stream in it.
What would you like to see at Google IO 2015? Let me know in the comments.
For my pick of the week, I have chosen Power Toggles.
As you might have read from my previous story, I upgraded myself to the Samsung Galaxy S4. I seem to have the Spanish version with some elements of the AT&T version of the Galaxy S4.
When I swiped down from the top of the phone, I looked at my various “Quick Settings” toggles to find that my mobile data toggle is nowhere to be seen. After doing some detective work, I found that AT&T took that quick setting toggle out.
Thankfully, that’s when I heard about Power Toggles. When downloading this, it will put a little section in your notification drawer. It will have various switches for Sync, Wi-Fi a torch and more. Of course, it also has that mobile data toggle. Of course, it also gives you the oiption to put in an icon to display the amount of battery that you have left.
Now of course, you could go into the settings to turn mobile data on but I hate having to spend time digging around in my settings. I would rather have something that’s more convenient. With that being said, I would still highly recommend it (especially if you have the AT&T Galaxy S4).
Power toggles is free to download from the Google Play Store.
It’s been a very long time since my last article, however I am back once again. I took a break from the internet altogether. This is because I had an operation on my eyes which meant that I had to take a break from using screens altogether.
So, with that out of the way I wanted to share another cautionary tale with you. With that in mind, let’s begin in August 2013. I decided to make a switch from an iPhone 4 to a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. I decided to switch from Apple’s iOS operating system to the Google Android operating system.
Some of you might think that this is sacrilege. For me, I like the ability to make changes to almost everything to do with the operating system. From the icons, to the way that apps are launched and everything in between. You can even wipe the version of Android that came on your smartphone or tablet out of the box and put something else. That last bit will be an important part later on in this story.
About 3 months later I decided to root my phone. Basically, rooting a phone gives you full control over every bit of functionality. If you wanted to you could even get rid of most of these customisations that manufacturers put on there. Speaking of which, this is the next part in the story.
A few months later, I decided that I did not like Samsung’s version of Android (AKA TouchWiz) and wanted to use something else. So, I had a look into loading a customised version of the Android operating system. These are known as custom ROMs(ROM stands for read-only memory). The ROM is actually the part of the phone where the operating system (and in some cases your contacts, music, photos and other things live on your phone). They are called custom ROMs because they are flashed to the read-only memory on the phone.
After searching around I chose one called CyanogenMod. I heard a lot of great things about it. So, I wiped data off from the phone snd installed CyanogenMod 10.1.3. When I first loaded the operating system onto my phone, I was really liking it. It took up less storage space than TouchWiz (and all of the other Samsung stuff which I did not use) and it made my phone really fast at doing all of the day-to-day things such as checking my emails. Of course, making calls and text messages was not a problem.
I then upgrade to newer versions of CyanogenMod. However they sometimes lead to less battery life or the Wi-Fi not working properly. So I downgraded to CyanogenMod 10.1.3. So I flashed CyanogenMod a few times over.
I was using CyanogenMod for the better part of two whole years. Fast forward to about a week ago. I was at home one evening and I was browsing websites on my phone. Just as I was doing so, I had about 40% of battery(so plenty of battery). All of a sudden the screen just locked up. I tried pressing the home button with no response from the phone. I tried changing the battery and then the phone turned back on, only to show the CyanogenMod logo.
I then decided to take it to my local phone repair shop. As such, I was phoneless. Thankfully, I had a spare phone lying around. It was an old iPhone 3G (originally released in 2008). Using it was a nightmare. I could get emails on it. I was able to load songs onto it, but I had to connect it up to a computer and use iTunes to load songs onto it. To make matters worse, I could not load any apps onto it. At least I could make phone calls and send text messages. Worst of all, even after wiping it clean it was super slow.
About two weeks later, I decided that enough was enough with this suffering with this old phone from 2008. I was surprised that it still worked. So, I decided that it was time to invest in a new phone. I wanted something with a bigger screen, so the choice that made sense for me was the Samsung Galaxy S4. After some detective work, it seemed that the Galaxy S4 I have was a Spanish Galaxy S4 with some AT&T features on it. By the way for those of you not in the know, AT&T is a mobile phone network in the USA.
After a while, I was told by the staff at the store that my phone was beyond repair. Without going into too much detail here, it turns out that all of your data that is stored on the phone, is actually stored inside a small chip that could fit on the tip of your finger. There was no going back.
At least I had all of my songs, and everything else because I made a backup copy of everything. I will talk a bit more about backing up your phone in a future article.
Let this be a lesson to all of you who wish to modify your phone in any way: When playing around with a custom operating system on your smartphone, please proceed with caution. Try not to install a newer or older version too many times.
Am I saying that you should not install CyanogenMod(or another custom ROM) onto your Android phone? No. What I am saying, is that you can if you want to, but proceed with caution. You should be okay if you follow the instructions properly. If you don’t feel comfortable about installing a custom ROM, then don’t.
It’s Sunday so it’s time for Adi’s Week in Tech News. This is your weekly round-up of the week’s technology news.
If you are one of the people who have decided to put the latest preview edition of Windows 10 (Microsoft’s upcoming operating system), then there is something else that Microsoft wants you to check out. They have released preview editions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. All of these are universal apps which have been optimised for touch screen devices. This basically means that you get the same Office experience whether you use a smartphone running Windows 10 or a tablet running Windows 10, It will all be the same.
Google has offered up a version of it’s Google Earth application on PCs and Macs for free for quite a while. It gave you a way to look at the map of the world. More importantly, you would be able to “fly” from one location and then zoom in on another location to get a bird’s-eye view. However, what you might not know is that there was a pro/premium version of Google earth pro. It used to cost $399(£264) a year, but Google has now decided to make Google Earth Pro available for free. Better still, you can get Google Earth Pro for free right now. Once you have downloaded Google Earth Pro from the link above, use your email address as your username and GEPFREE as the license key.
The folks at Raspberry Pi have released a new model of their small computers called the Raspberry Pi 2. It sports a A 900MHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 4 USB 2.0 ports and an Ethernet port. Of course, you also have a HDMI port, a Micro SD slot and a headphone port. As you can see What makes this a really interesting, is that because of the specs, the Raspberry Pi 2 will be able to run Windows 10. Incidentally Microsoft has announced that they will make it free to Makers through the Windows Developer Program. The Raspberry Pi 2 is priced at $35 (£25).
An Ubuntu-powered smartphone is coming to the market a year and a half after a previous attempt to launch a model via crowdfunding failed. The Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu edition relies on a card-like user interface that is not focused on apps. Unlike the original proposal, the handset does not become a desktop PC when plugged into a monitor. It is initially being targeted at “early adopters”, who developers hope will become advocates for the platform.
Telecoms group BT has paid £12.5bn to buy mobile operator EE. The takeover creates a communications giant covering fixed-line phones, broadband, mobile and TV. The stock market greeted the move by sending BT shares up by 4.5%, to the highest since 2001, when it sold off its old mobile operation O2. But rivals TalkTalk and Vodafone have already called for competition authorities to step in and force BT to spin off its Openreach operation.
It’s Sunday and it’s time for Adi’s Week in Tech News. Incidentally, it’s the first edition of Adi’s Week in Tech News for 2015. This is your weekly roundup of all the week’s technology news.
Those who own an iPhone or an iPad have had Microsoft Office on their iOS devices for a long time now. However, Microsoft has finally released a version of Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Android tablets. If you have a tablet with a screen size of between 7 and 10 inches, then you will be able to create and edit documents for free. Additionally, Microsoft has released outlook for iOS and Android. The popular email and calendar software is free to download from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.
Humans should be worried about the threat posed by artificial Intelligence, Bill Gates has said. The Microsoft founder said he didn’t understand people who were not troubled by the possibility that AI could grow too strong for people to control.
First-class passengers flying between Australia and the US will soon be able to watch content via a virtual reality headset, airline Qantas has announced. In the first tie-up of its kind, the airline has teamed up with Samsung to provide the headsets for in-flight entertainment. The Samsung Gear VR headsets will show a variety of tailored content.
After a long wait, EA has confirmed that the open beta for battlefield hardline will be available between the 3rd of February and the 8th of February 2015. The beta will be available to everyone on PC, PS4, PS3, XBox 360 and the XBox One.
Pay-TV firm Sky is launching a mobile phone service next year in partnership with O2’s Spanish parent Telefonica. Sky will use Telefonica UK’s wireless network, enabling the satellite broadcaster to offer mobile voice and data services for the first time. It takes Sky into the battle for “quad play”, adding mobile to its existing services of internet, landline and TV.
When I was a child, one of my highlights was going into Central London here in the UK. I would go into a space known as the London Trocadero to play some games in the video game arcade that they had there. I would convert some notes that I had into one pound coins and play some really cool arcade games. Some of the games that I played included Time Crisis, Daytona USA(a racing game), Manx TT Superbike (a superbike racing game), virtua cop and many more. The halls of this arcade were packed with people. There were even big queues to play the more popular games like Street Fighter 2 and bunches of people watching people play Dancing Stage (AKA Dance Dance Revolution). The way these arcade machines would work is that you would put some money in (like a one pound coin) and you could play the game. Back in their heyday, these arcade machines would make these arcades a load of money.
However, let’s fast forward to late 2012. I recently took a trip to the London Trocadero and things have changed a lot. The floors that were filled with arcades are now occupied with shops selling clothes and other things. When I looked for the arcade, I went down to the basement level and I still found a few arcade games. However, there were very few games. I was able to find some older racing games such as Daytona USA, Manx TT Superbike and Alpine Racer. There was a more recent shooter called Razing storm and a newer racer called H2 OverDrive.
Sadly London Trocadero has shut down. With that said, there is now a new place called The Heart of Gaming in London here in the UK that has opened up. They have basically taken a lot of the arcade machines from the London Trocadero and brought them there. For up to £10 a session, you can play all sorts of classic games including Time Crisis, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Killer Instinct and a lot more. Some people out there have called it a re-birth of the arcade scene here in London, UK.
However, there were only a handful of people there when I visited. From what I have heard in Japan, there are still a lot of people who visit the arcades. In the Akihabara district, there are a lot of arcades.
How about in the USA? Well, from what I know, the arcade scene over there is either dead or pretty close to it. I know that there are a few arcades like Super Arcade in California and Galloping Ghosts Arcade in Illinois. Apart from that, a lot of the arcades are not visited often enough for the owners to keep them open.
So what is the cause of this? The games consoles. Most of you might have a games console like a PlayStation, XBox or Nintendo Wii. You might even play some games on your PC or laptop. It is because we have a huge array of games to play at home, that we no longer need to spend money at an arcade.
Incidentally, part of the spirit of the arcade is still alive on the Internet at least. There is a piece of software called Fightcade. This allows people to play some classic games online with or against other players with close to no lag at all. Each of the games have their own “room” where players meet up online. A player will send a request to challenge someone and then they will hop into the game. At times, the Fightcade rooms are filled with lots of people depending on the game. If it’s something like Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, then there is a good chance that there will be a lot of people there already playing a few matches.
So is the arcade really dead? Well, it depends where you go. In the USA, the arcade is close to dead, in Japan it’s alive and well and here in the UK, it is trying desperately to stay alive.
Do you think the video game arcades are dead? Let me know in the comments.
About a couple of weeks ago, I came back from India.
As part of my trip to India, one of the challenges that I faced was Internet access. As such, I did take an iPad with me but it was the Wi-Fi only, 16GB model.
So why was internet access a challenge? Well, India has changed a lot since my last trip in 2010. However, the reason that Internet access was a challenge was down to the places where I stayed. For the first leg, we stayed at a relatives’ flat. They had a mobile broadband stick, which can be plugged into a computer to get it onto the Internet. Since the stick was using 3G technology, I was only able to view webpages and check emails at best.
For the second leg, we were staying in a flat that we owned. There was internet access in the form of a Wi-Fi access point for all of the flats in the building. A lot of people might have been on the Wi-Fi so it was slow. Again, there was just enough speed there to see webpages and check emails. If we were very lucky, we could watch the occasional youtube video at a lower video quality.
The third leg of the trip was split up into one portion where we stayed in a hotel where there was no internet connection. Just a bed, a bathroom and that’s it. The second portion was a few days at a house where my relatives stayed at the time. Thankfully, they had an Internet connection hooked up to a wireless router. That way, we could turn on the Wi-Fi on a smartphone or tablet and hook up to the Wireless router to get online. Again, the connection was good enough to load up webpages or check some emails.
For the fourth portion, we stayed in a hotel. The Internet connection was good enough to stream lower quality audio and read and send emails or tweets at best.
last but not least, i was staying at a flat. There, I was fortunate to have access to an Internet connection which was quite fast by indian standards. It was super stable. I was able to pull in emails, check facebook and twitter, stream high quality audio and video. Mind you, i did not stream video too much.
Fast forward to me coming back to my house here in the UK, and I am so glad to be back on my superfast internet connection that is really solid. At the time of publishing, our internet service provider had upgraded our internet connection that twice as fast. It made me really appreciate having an internet connection at all. Most important of all, the next time I go to a person’s house, or to work in an office I will not complain about how slow the internet connection is. In fact, I will count myself lucky that I actually have internet access.
The point that I am trying to make here is that sometimes we take having an internet connection for granted. There are some people around the world, who are lucky enough just to have internet access. Yes, it my be a little bit on the slow side, but so as long as they can get access to the information that they need, then they are okay living with that.
So I guess the TLDR(too long didn’t read) is this: You need to appreciate the fact that you have Internet access. Because there are some countries in the world, where having Internet access is a luxury, not something that can be taken for granted.
I would like to wish everyone reading this a happy new year. I hope that 2015 is a most excellent year for you.
Every year, I try and force myself to make a new years’ resolution. So this year, my resolution is something that I would like to do for you the reader. I am going to be doing what I can to try and speed up this website as much as possible. As part of this mission, I will be doing a re-vamp of the design of this website. Don’t get me wrong. As it is, the site looks good, but there is room for improvement. At the time of publishing this article I am still working on said redesign. It will be going live later today, so take a good look at this screenshot, because after this post goes up, it will be the last time you see the website in it’s current form.
I have some really good articles planned for January, so be sure to watch this space.